It has been SO LONG since I last wrote about my experiences as a teaching assistant in Tours…that I do not even know where to start this entry!
Well, A LOT has certainly happened since mid-March (when I wrote about the wine tasting and vineyard tour that I did with Devlin and Jenny after one of the many English workshops we helped lead). I visited my sister in Barcelona for a weekend, I had a fabulous weekend in Paris with my best friend’s family, I had an absolutely incredible family vacation with my mom and sister, I went to Cambridge University in the UK, and I, sadly, said goodbye to all of the friends I had made.
One of the greatest things I have been able to do, during my time abroad, is travel Europe by low-cost airline, train, cruise ship, and bus. Europe is so accessible when it comes to traveling; the ability to travel from EU country to EU country has made this teaching experience wonderful.
Since I do not work on Wednesdays, have to be at work after noon on Mondays, and have no classes after noon on Fridays, I have been able to take weekend trips to visit friends and family abroad. When I picked my teaching hours in October I had this in mind, and I am so happy that I have been able to use it to my advantage.
Barcelona with my sister was so much fun; I had never been to BCN before, so my sister Jackie showed me many of the touristy sites. We were also able to spend time together catching up, since I hadn’t seen her since August 2010. We sat on beaches, hung out with her senora (Rosa), and enjoyed beautiful weather!
Paris is always fabulous…and especially since I have such gracious hosts when I am there! My best friend’s mom came into visit her sister in Paris for a handful of days and I met up with her. We explored the touristy parts of Paris, but also enjoyed each other’s company over rosé and while people watching in some of the many Parisian parks.
Family vacations can be stressful, overwhelming, and to a certain degree not as relaxing as they should be. All families eventually get sick of each other. My mom came to visit me for 3.5 weeks and during her time in Europe we: (1) met up with Jackie in Sorrento, Italy for a four day vacation that took us along the Amalfi Coast, to Capri, and to the ruins of Pompeii, (2) cruised on the Mediterranean stopping in the ports of Villefranche, France, Palma de Mallorca, and Barcelona, Spain, (3) discovered the architecture wonders of Barcelona, Spain, and (4) went back in history exploring the chateaux of Amboise, Blois, Chambord, Chenonceau, and Cheverny in The Loire Valley. It was SO MUCH FUN…and at no point was I ever “stressed”…”overwhelmed”…or “not as relaxed as I should have been”! I didn’t want my mom to leave!
More recently, I visited The University of Cambridge and got to see Lindsay (a friend who is doing her Master’s there) and our friend Stephanie who is traveling a bit before moving to Jamaica to do some volunteer work with children and a literacy program. We had not seen each other since we graduated in May 2010…so it was great to look back over our year and see what we’ve done. The mini-Wooster Reunion took us all around the city of Cambridge…from English pubs and fish and chips to playing board games and drinking coffee!
However, the hardest and most difficult thing that has happened over these past two-months has been saying goodbye to many of the amazing friends I have made. I was the only teaching assistant in my circle of friends that had a 9-month contract…so everyone (Caroline, Devlin, Emma, Jenna, Jenny, John, Kag, Miriam, Ryan) is practically gone now! We had a farewell garden party at my house about a month ago (right before my mom arrived in mid-April), as well as one last dinner at a creperie off of Place Plume. I hope all is well with all of them…you are ALL missed!
So, that is a quick update of what has been going on these past couple of months. I hope to have more regular updates during the next 2-months before my departure in early July 2011.
Peace and love from France, ALEX